Jorge Masvidal’s marketability is at an all-time high, and “Gamebred” is looking for the most lucrative fights possible — even at the expense of an immediate title shot.
Kamaru Usman will defend the 170-pound title against Colby Covington in the UFC 245 headliner on Dec. 14, and after impressive wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz in 2019, Masvidal would seem to be the No. 1 contender in waiting. However, the Miami native has his eye on a couple of opponents that could potentially draw more interest than the Usman-Covington winner.
“They’re fighting for the spot to fight me,” Masvidal told Yahoo Sports regarding the UFC 245 main event combatants. “I’m the ticket at 170 pounds. I’m going to go and get the biggest, best and toughest fights.
“So it’s looking like we might fight Nick Diaz next, it’s looking like it might be Conor McGregor. Obviously those fights come first because of the paycheck and everything it brings while these guys are settling the dust between the hugging championships.”
After Masvidal bested Nate Diaz via third-round stoppage for the BMF title in the UFC 244 headliner, promotion president Dana White, while not being specific, admitted that the American Top Team member has “some big options coming his way.”
Nick Diaz entered the picture shortly after Masvidal dispatched his younger brother at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2. In an interview with ESPN, the elder Diaz expressed interest in a fight with Masvidal at Cowboy Stadium in the spring of 2020.
“You [Masvidal] want to talk about baptizing my younger brother?" Nick told ESPN. "That's on you. Like, you don't talk about baptizing my younger brother, so you're already in a f---ed position if you fight with me. You don't f---ing talk about baptizing someone's younger brother. That's my baby brother. You don't talk like that to nobody.”
Diaz hasn’t fought since facing Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in January 2015, but Masvidal believes the former Strikeforce champion will have extra motivation to end his hiatus. Masvidal and Diaz were briefly booked to fight earlier this year, but the bout did not come to fruition.
“If he’s ever been motivated for a fight, I think it’s going to be this one,” Masvidal said. “I think whatever he’s been doing in the past, he’ll cut it and he’ll get into his ways of fighting. Knowing the Diaz brothers and how much they love and respect each other, I know that guy’s going to come with everything he has.
“That hypes me up to want to fight. Like let’s f—-ing do this cause you’re not taking nothing what I’ve got. You’re knocking at my front door and you ain’t getting in here. I’m going to stop you right where you stand. That’s how I feel.”
While he did mention a showdown with McGregor as well, Masvidal seems less interested in a matchup with the Irish star than he does with Nick Diaz. However, things could change if McGregor bests Donald Cerrone in his return at UFC 246 on Jan. 18.
“I don’t want to sound like a bully either because since I won the Nate fight, he [McGregor] hasn’t said a peep,” Masvidal said. “If that guy doesn’t want to fight, I’m not bothering nobody. I’m not going to be a bully.”